Women on Wheels starts to roll in Hay River

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Nancy Makepeace, left, and Bonnie Crowther kicked of Women of Wheels in Hay River with a bike ride on May 1. Women on Wheels is set for each Wednesday of May. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Nancy Makepeace, left, and Bonnie Crowther kicked of Women of Wheels in Hay River with a bike ride on May 1. Women on Wheels is set for each Wednesday of May.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

A new biking group called Women on Wheels started a roll with just two riders on May 1.

However, the low number of participants did not bother organizer Nancy Makepeace, who attributed the turnout to the low temperature.

When the ride began at about 2 p.m. on May 1, the temperature was -4 with a wind chill of -10.

“We weren’t disappointed,” said Makepeace. “I did talk to a few people later who said they would like to come, but it was just too cold.”

One of the main goals of Women on Wheels is to get women biking who may otherwise be too afraid to go alone because of loose dogs.

“So people would be comfortable,” said Makepeace. “People have also mentioned that they worry about bears, too. So it’s a fear.”

She has been chased by a dog a couple of times while biking.

“And once I had to flag down a vehicle and put my bike in the back to get past a bear,” she recalled.

Makepeace got the idea for Women on Wheels from a similar program in Nova Scotia that she read about online.

“I did talk to people about it last year,” she said. “We just didn’t get it organized. Then I thought, well, we had an early spring this year, at the time. I thought we’ll give it a try.”

Bonnie Crowther was the other bicyclist who participated in the first ride.

“I think it’s a great idea to get people out and get them biking,” she said. “We don’t have too much interest right today, but there has been a lot of interest shown for it.”

Crowther also believed the low temperature on May 1 kept some people away.

“We’ll start it off and then people will join in as the word gets around,” she said.

Crowther has her own stories about encounters with loose dogs while biking, including once when a man stopped his truck and helped her by chasing away a dog that was attacking her.

Another time she had to get off her bike and use it as a shield to protect herself from a dog.

“It’s a big concern,” she said.

Crowther, an avid bicyclist, has also seen bears while riding along the highway to the falls south of Enterprise.

If she rides to the falls, she is accompanied by her husband in a truck.

Women on Wheels will have its second ride on May 8, beginning at 2 p.m. from the Rec Centre.

It will take place each Wednesday in May.

Makepeace is hoping that there will be three or four participants.

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